I recently read OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, by Allan Metcalf. For some unaccountable reason this book has only two customer reviews on Amazon; there must be some good reason for that. Anyway, Metcalf tells you everything you ever wanted to know about “OK,” starting with the true story of its etymology. No, OK doesn’t come from “Old Kinderhook,” as most people believe. (Actually, most people have absolutely no opinion on the matter.) Nor does it come from Finnish, or an American Indian language, or any other fanciful source. But you’ll have to read the book to find out the truth. Unlike most other people, he cites sources rather than spouting unsupported assertions.

On the plus side, Metcalf has written an informative, well-documented account that’s easy to read. On the minus side, it’s somewhat repetitive, despite coming in at only 224 pages.

Oh, no! We missed OK Day, which was two days ago. But you can still “like” OK Day on Facebook. More than two hundred of us have done so, even if only two posted reviews on Amazon.

Categories: Books, Linguistics